Body Work by Sara Paretsky

‘Body Work’ is Sara Paretsky’s 14th novel featuring female private investigator V.I. (Vic) Warshawski.

Vic attends a night club with several friends. The main show features the body artist – a nude woman who has the audience paint her body like it is a canvas. 50 year old Vic is not very impressed, her 90 year old neighbour Mr Contreras is completely offended, but Vic’s young cousin Petra loves the club and immediately gets herself a job there. Worried about Petra’s safety, Vic feels obliged to return to the club regularly to keep an eye on her.

There are several shady characters who frequent the club. The female owner acts as though she has something to hide. She lets an overweight ex-cop do what he likes – including touching up the waitresses. One young woman – Nadia comes in each night to draw a face on the body artist and each time a drunk Iraqi Vet Chad is offended by the drawing and becomes abusive.

Then after the show one night, Nadia is shot and Chad seems to be the obvious suspect. He is arrested unconscious (after an overdose) and spends most of the rest of the novel unconscious in hospital.

Vic is approached by Chad’s father – to prove Chad’s innocence.

Behind the scenes there are some seriously bad guys (multiple groups of them) who have taken advantage of people for their own profit. But who killed Nadia? Why was Chad so upset? What really happened to Nadia’s sister? Who is the body artist?

Once again, the ageing Vic Warshawski puts her body on the line trying to find the answers.


This wasn’t one of my favourite novels in the series. Many of the events were too unrealistic and a bit difficult to relate to. Probably the most unrealistic part is the way that the 50 year old Vic is able to recover from the abuse she puts her body through. It might be time for her to retire soon.

I’ve read the next two novels in the series – ‘Breakdown’ and ‘Critical Mass’, so the next one on my list to read is ‘Brush Back’.


Book Published 2010


See a full list of books by Sara Paretsky


Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, Paretsky, Sara, Series Fiction, Thriller

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